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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and The Queen's Bastard returns with a look at the future queen of England before Henry VIII comes into her life. When Anne is nine, her father is sent to France by Henry to conduct state affairs, and brings the family. Beautiful, intelligent and learned, Anne gains the favor of France's kind Queen Claude as well as of the brilliant Marguerite of Savoy, the bright but lecherous Francois I and even Leonardo da Vinci, all before she turns 17. But Anne and her siblings are put upon by her cold and cruel father, Thomas Boleyn, to do whatever he may order to further his interests and those of England. Maxwell's Anne witnesses the devastating effect upon her sister, Mary, and determines to find her own destiny—certainly a rarity in the era. The budding romance between Anne and her paramour Percy is feelingly described, and all the more poignant when one knows the outcome. Maxwell delivers a ripping piece of historical romance. (Nov.)
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Review

"Robin Maxwell offers a fascinating glimpse at the ambitious girl who will grow into the infamous queen. An unforgettable blend full of scandal, intrigue, and history that will keep readers spellbound as Anne's inevitable destiny unfolds." -Susan Holloway Scott, author of Duchess "Absolutely superb! Mademoiselle Boleyn is one of the most lush and beautiful historical novels I have ever read, I seriously could not put it down." -Diane Haeger, author of The Perfect Royal Mistress "Reading Maxwell's brilliant new novel, it's easy to see why Anne is the "Boleyn girl" who changed the course of history, and why she is the source of never ending fascination. We are finally able to catch a glimpse of Anne Boleyn before her enemies vilified her, while she was still just a young woman looking for true love. I couldn't put it down." -Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti "Anne Boleyn fans will cry huzzah! when they learn that novelist Robin Maxwell has returned to her Tudor roots. In this saucy romp, a prequel to her Secret Diary, Maxwell writes in the remembered voice of a child -- a tricky feat indeed. Readers will find much to delight in, from finely drawn secondary characters like Leonardo da Vinci to scintillating descriptions of the French glitterati and the royal court. Frothy and French as its main setting, Maxwell's work nevertheless conveys a gravitas that foretells Mademoiselle Boleyn's eventual fate, especially in the novel's exploration of the motives of Henry Percy, Anne's first love and her ultimate betrayer." -Vicki Leon, author of Working IX to V "Historically plausible account of Anne Boleyn's adolescence in France as a courtier of King Francois. Maxwell's prequel to her first novel (The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, 1997) explores Anne's upbringing far from England...Lavishly imagined detail-regarding entertainment, dress and habits of the time-adds depth to this work...accomplished rehabilitation of much-maligned Anne as an empowered woman." -Kirkus Reviews "The author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and The Queen's Bastard returns with a look at the future queen of England before Henry VIII comes into her life...The budding romance between Anne and her paramour Percy is feelingly described, and all the more poignant when one knows the outcome. Maxwell delivers a ripping piece of historical romance." -Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 355 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451222091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451222091
  • ASIN: B001A5Q3OG
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed out her Elizabethan Quartet, and is now in development for a television series. "Signora Da Vinci" and "Jane: The Woman Who loved Tarzan" are tales of the remarkable women behind two of the world's most beloved wildmen - Maestro Leonardo and Lord Greystoke. Robin lives with her husband of thirty years, Max Thomas, at High Desert Eden, a wildlife sanctuary in the Mojave Desert.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. Renaud on January 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Robin Maxwell's latest, "Mademoiselle Boleyn." It serves as a sort of prequel to her previous book, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," examining Anne's little-known years when she lived at the court of the French king, Francis I.

I have mixed feelings about the book, which I suppose fits as I have mixed feelings about the author. "Mademoiselle Boleyn" is much more interesting than other books of this type (i.e. "The Other Boleyn Girl"), mainly because it's hard to find books set in France during this period, so it doesn't feel like a sexed-up rehash of the Anne Boleyn wikipedia entry. There's lots of color and intrigue, and Maxwell, at her best, has a charming, entertaining and an enthusiastic voice.

At her worst, however, Maxwell can be sensationalistic, pandering and so in love with exclamation marks that Steinbeck would roll over in his grave. Also, her characterizations are not particularly successful. I agree in principle with her depiction of Mary Boleyn as a pretty but not particularly bright girl ultimately victimized by court politics, and her portrayal of Anne as a budding intellectual has potential (even though most of the time she comes across like an R-rated version of Drew Barrymore's character from "Ever After"). But some of their scenes are just unbelievable...

For example, King Francis gets bored with boffing Mary, and he decides he has the hots for her sister, so he tricks Anne into coming into Mary's Turkish/Indian fusion bedroom. Anne sees the king getting off on Mary and a bunch of other girls having a lesbian orgy on the bed, and she's so freaked out she runs away.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Melissa N. VINE VOICE on March 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Mademoiselle Boleyn" is a very interesting novel that focuses on the early part of Anne Boleyn's life before she becomes involved with King Henry VIII and eventually ascends to the throne of England. This book begins when Anne is just a child and is sent away from her English home to be brought up at the French court. Anne quickly gains the favor of the French royals, including King Francois himself, his wife Claude, and his sister Marguerite. Life in France provides quite an education for Anne, who observes the way certain bold French women are inclined to take matters into their own hands when it comes to affairs of state and matters of the heart. Anne also learns firsthand how women are generally cast aside, as her father treats her with complete indifference and casts his eldest daughter, Mary, into the role of a sex slave to lecherous kings in hopes of advancing the Boleyn family's power. Eventually Francois takes an interest in Anne, who must do everything possible to resist the king's unwanted advances. Anne also meets and falls in love with the charming Henry Percy, and wonders if it will be possible to defy her father and marry for love.

I enjoyed this book. It depicts Anne as a bright, kind young girl who is used as a pawn by the evil men in her life, which is very different from the manipulative shrew many other writers make Anne out to be. Obviously, there are numerous historical inaccuracies in the book (like Anne and Leonardo da Vinci being BFFs), but I found "Mademoiselle Boleyn" to be thoroughly entertaining and a fresh new interpretation of the life of this infamous woman.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Wiley VINE VOICE on November 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Everyone knows Anne Boleyn's tragic ending, but what of her youthful years? Robin Maxwell ties together historical facts with a bit of fiction to present Anne's blossoming from a child to a woman in MADEMOISELLE BOLEYN.

At the young age of nine, Anne and her older sister, Mary, are sent to the French court. Court life is filled with various intrigues and Anne quickly learns to maneuver her way around. The sexually promiscuous atmosphere of the French court soon overtakes Mary, but Anne is determined not to have the same fate. Torn between her friendships in the French court of Francois I and her father's insistence that she spy on the French, Anne must learn to walk a careful path or all will be lost. How will she avoid her sister's fate as Anne is starting to mature? Step inside the pages and watch as her formative years are revealed....

Before reading MADEMOISELLE BOLEYN, all I really knew about Anne Boleyn was her death by beheading. Robin Maxwell has opened my eyes to a period of history I had never really thought about. Her fascinating prose kept me riveted to the pages of this book long past my bedtime.

The descriptive imagery draws the reader into the heart of this tale, but it is Anne herself who makes it so powerful. Told through the eyes of a child, the debauchery of the French court is almost obscene. And yet, Anne continually sees the good in others despite their excesses. She is not naïve, however. Rather, Anne is a strong female and her ever growing confidence in herself is empowering and poignant, particularly against a backdrop in which women are so powerless. The comparisons between her fate and Mary's is startling poignant. Anne is not the only strong female, however, as Marguerite is herself a powerful woman.
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